What would a user manual look like for me? / by Will Ringland

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while, writing a sort of user manual for myself. I like understanding the Why and How of what I do in order to be as good and happy and productive as possible. Since it’s a new year and I’m re-viewing 2018 while I also define what my theme for 2019 will be, I figured there’s no time like the present to do this.

So below, for the curious, is the TOC and introduction I wrote up for it. I’m certain this will change a lot and never actually be done. But I’ve already written something in my various journals for literally everything below.

I’m just going to start pulling it all together.

Working on this for an hour-ish and I’m at ~1200 words.


Table of Contents

  1. What are we here for?
  2. Important Principles and Code of Ethics
  3. Issues/Causes I care About
  4. People important to me
  5. Personal Heroes
  6. How I interact with humans
  7. Bad Habits
  8. What makes me happy
  9. Things I want to learn/Skills
  10. How I work
  11. 40,000 Feet: Drive and purpose
  12. 30,000 Feet: 3-5 year vision
  13. 20,000 Feet: 1 year themes
  14. 10,000 Feet: Projects
  15. Runway: Task management processes
  16. Past year themes and assessments
  17. Creativity
  18. Exercise
  19. Error Codes
  20. Appendices

What are we here for?

This thing is a combination of ideas - a user manual as described by CPG Grey on episode on Cortex #79 , a work manifesto like Rands’ “How to Rands”, and sort of a aggregation of process related stuff I’ve been maintaining for years.

It is also an attempt to mark a point in my life where I feel like... me. I have an identity, people and principles that matter to me and, for the first time in a while, I’m really content with the vast majority of the areas of my life. Seeing how this could or will change in the next few years, especially as I intend to separate the Horizons sections, which is taken pretty much directly from Getting Things Done by David Allen, and keep it updated every years.

I feel like I should be able to give this to a person who asks why I do what I do, or give them at least a portion, and they get a good idea of how I work.

This is probably unlikely and this is going to be pretty weirdly organized. And probably out of date in reality.


For the extra curious my 2019 theme will be “Cultivation.” More on that later. Probably.